Your content could use a good laugh

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How to use humor to promote you, your company or organization.

Humor is a funny thing. The moment you laugh or chuckle at something, you make a connection with the thing that made you laugh. Marketers would say you’re interacting or engaging with the content and this makes them drool. Buckets.

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That’s why smart companies and organizations use humor. Yet it does more than penetrate the wall we humans construct to hold back the onslaught of messages and distractions that bombard us.

Humor makes things stand out 

If something is really funny, it hits you in the face because there’s so much dull, unimaginative content out there. People will talk about funny Super Bowl ads or TV commercials and even pass them on through Facebook and Instagram. There’s nothing like word-of-mouth to add an extra push to your promotional and advertising efforts.

Presto! You’ve got a personality!

Unless you’re lucky enough to have a charismatic leader like Steve Jobs or Elon Musk running your organization, you’re essentially faceless. But a thread of humor running through your content can make you friendlier, more approachable and less intimidating.  Couple it with a really strategic tagline and all of a sudden, an image or a feeling starts to form when people see your content. What Happens In Vegas, Stays In Vegas. Pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?

Humor isn’t just for those products or services that are naturally funny. 

Candy, soft drinks, and pet foods just naturally lend themselves to being light-hearted. But car insurance? Egads! I mean, who wants to make light of having a car accident? Well, Geico and Progressive use humor to sell their low premiums. Years ago, they came out of nowhere against the big names in car insurance and used humor to project the image that they’re approachable and friendly … while not boring you to death. Today, they’re big, big companies, but think about Geico and you immediately picture a cute, little talking gecko. Enough said.

Humor doesn’t have to sell you something outright. 

On a recent flight from Barcelona to London, I watched a British Airways flight safety information video and was blown away at how funny it was.

In fact, it was so entertaining, I gave it my full attention, which is more than I can say for the drab, intimidating, droning of the American Airlines inflight safety video I saw on a connecting flight. The British Airways video takes your mind off the fact that you and about 300 other people are packed into a metal tube hurtling through the air, close to 600 miles an hour, 35,000 feet above the Earth. It also helps British Airways burnish their image, which seems to be a bit tarnished in satisfaction surveys. 

Humor doesn’t have to be a knee-slapper.

Your content can create a chuckle. Or a smile. Or just a knowing wink. It depends on the kind of impact you want to make. But in any case, you’re telling people that you’re letting them in on the joke or secret or that the listener is very smart in choosing your organization. People are engaging with your content although they might not realize it.

Humor might not be appropriate for everyone, but done well, it can sure cut through all the clutter and drive home whatever feeling or message you’re trying to get across.  But it has to be consistent….you can’t just run a few ads or have a friendly website or some funny signs in the windows of your store. Content has to permeate every aspect of your corporate culture. It takes a commitment … and a good sense of humor.


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